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Healthy Dog Blog

Top Ten Animated Dogs

There are any number of famous dogs in entertainment: Lassie, Eddie (of Frasier fame), Benji, Hooch, and Rin Tin Tin, but there is a certain breed of dog that has risen to a celebrity all their own. The animated dog. Here are my top ten animated dogs.

Ren Hoeck10. – Ren Hoeck – The Ren & Stimpy Show

A staple of Nickelodeon for many years, Ren was the often abrasive, usually neurotic companion of the slightly effeminate, hair-ball producing Stimpy. A take on a Chihuahua, Ren could go from screaming and calling Stimpy an idiot, to shivering in a corner much like a real Chihuahua. An icon for an entire generation of teenagers, Ren leads off our list at number ten.

Blue9. – Blue – Blue's Clues

Children around the world are familiar with Blue for his educational messages and great source of early childhood development skills. The recipient of nine Emmy awards, Blue's Clues was inspired by Sesame Street, and appealed to the same crowd of pre-schoolers. Incorporating sign language, creative thinking, riddles, and both verbal and non-verbal skills, Blue's Clues remains a great source for children of all ages.

Santa's Little Helper8. – Santa's Little Helper – The Simpsons

Often neglected, the Simpson's dog, Santa's Little Helper, is a charming, but poorly trained Greyhound. Having survived where the family's cat has not (currently on Snowball V), this retired racing Greyhound has been a staple of the Simpson household for years. Having saved members of the family on numerous occasions, it's often surprising that Bart was so quick to replace him with the more well trained Laddie (a joke on Lassie). Eventually Bart came to his senses, and Santa's Little Helper has stayed with the Simpsons ever since.

Brian Griffin7. – Brian Griffin – Family Guy

The Griffin's dog is noticeable for his wit, intelligence, love of martinis, and ability to speak. While only 7 years old, Brian is only a few credits short of a degree from Brown University, owns a car, votes, and maintains a credit card. While displaying some of the typical canine behaviors (fear of vacuums), Brian's anthropomorphic qualities are what have made him one of the more memorable animated dogs in recent history, catapulting him from tertiary character to one of the most popular characters in the series.

Odie6. – Odie – Garfield

While certainly not the main star of the series, Odie has been a participant (sometimes willing, sometimes not), in many of Garfield's hi-jinks. Though Garfield has usually gotten the better of Odie's good nature and admitted simple nature, Odie has shown surprising ingenuity in getting revenge on Garfield on a number of occasions.

Pluto5. – Pluto – Disney

Usually portrayed as Mickey Mouse's pet dog, Pluto represents the ideal of man's best friend that we all think of when looking for our own dogs. Whether begging for dog treats or showing affection for Mickey (and everybody in the surrounding area), Pluto is the pinnacle of the animated man's best friend – even if that man happens to be a mouse.

Dino Flintstone4. – Dino – The Flintstones

While not technically a dog, Dino long exhibited all of the mannerisms of a dog, and for that he makes this list. Whether licking Fred's face, playing with Pebbles, or begging for a brontosaurus steak (the predecessor to bully sticks), Dino is arguably the animated world's first pet dog. Listed as a Snorkasaurus, Dino can always be found yapping happily as Fred returns home from work.

Lady & the Tramp3. – Lady & the Tramp – Disney's Lady & the Tramp

The first couple of animated dogs, Lady and the Tramp showed us that even dogs need love and companionship from their own kind. When not pushing meatballs with their noses and eating spaghetti, Lady and the Tramp fell in love and eventually had a litter of their own (spearheaded by the aptly named Scamp). While not the last animated dogs to be presented to us by Disney, they are the ones that stick out the most in the minds of most dog lovers the world over.

Scooby-Doo2. – Scooby-Doo – Scooby-Doo Adventures

The eternal partner of Shaggy, Scooby- Doo has been solving crimes with his friends since 1969. When not being bribed with Scooby Snacks (kinda like a Sam's Yams, but without all the healthy benefits), Scooby and Shaggy could be found running in terror from what always ended up being somebody in a costume scaring the locals. While Scooby's mystery-solving prowess can be debated at some other juncture, his pop-culture status is undeniable with treats bearing his image are available for both people and dogs.

Snoopy1. – Snoopy – Peanuts

When it comes to animated dogs, nobody is more iconic than Snoopy. The dog of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and his friends have been a part of our lives since 1950. When not working as a mascot for MetLife and for Aerospace Safety, Snoopy and the Peanuts gang managed to appear in numerous comic strips and in some of the most iconic cartoons ever created (what would a Halloween be without It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or a Christmas without A Charlie Brown Christmas?), many of which are still enjoyed to this day by a new generation of children. While there hasn't been a new Peanuts since 2000 (the last one was published on February 13, 2000 – the day after Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz died), Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and all the Peanuts characters are as relevant today as they were more than 50 years ago.

As this is not a comprehensive list, I encourage all of my readers to comment with their picks for the top animated dogs. Let me know which dogs would make it onto your list and share it with everybody else.

-Avrum Elmakis

Breeders vs. Rescue Adoptions – Which Method is Better?

Every year around the time of the Westminster Dog Show, the debate of adopting dogs from shelters versus purchasing one through a breeder is brought up.  Each side has their argument, but for somebody looking to bring a dog into their life for the first time, it's a question that needs answering.  Which way of finding a dog is better?  Rescue adoptions or breeders?


The first question that you have to ask yourself before even considering to adopt a dog using either method is what kind of dog do you want?  This doesn't always mean which breed to you want (though that can certainly help), but what kind of temperament are you looking for in your dog.  Are you looking for a guard dog or one that will cuddle up next to you in bed at night?  Do you want a dog you can carry around in a bag or one that small children can ride?  With these things in mind, here are the arguments for both the breeder and the rescue adoption.

Breeders tend to get a bad reputation because of puppy mills that have gained notoriety for turning out puppies en masse that are often less than healthy.  While a certified breeder is very different from a puppy mill, looking into a breeder's credentials is a crucial first step when looking to get a dog from a breeder.


One advantage to going to a breeder is that they can give you the dog that you're looking for, usually with documentation to prove the health of the dog.  If you're looking for a Boston Terrier or a Poodle, you can find them at breeders that specialize in these particular breeds, and you can even find breeders that specialize in mixed breed dogs such as Labradoodles (Labrador and Poodle) or Puggles (Pug and Beagle).  The dogs purchased through a breeder tend to have fewer surprises for the new owner, and often come with guarantees to their health and temperament. 


The disadvantages to a breeder are the price (some dogs can cost you more than $1000), and the chances of finding yourself getting a dog not from a quality, licensed breeder but a puppy mill, which is why it's imperative that you do your homework on where you're getting the dog from.


Rescue Shelters


Rescue shelters are a great place to find a dog that's just looking for a new home.  That being said, there a few things to keep in mind before you visit a rescue shelter to adopt a dog.  See if the shelter is sponsored by the state or county you live in, is recognized by the SPCA, or is an independent shelter.  Those that are recognized by the SPCA and are sponsored by the state or county tend to have stricter standards by which they operate, and while many independent shelters are well run, there are enough bad apples to cause concern.


Many shelters will show their dogs on their website, and this is a great way to see what dogs they have available for adoption, as well as find out what their fees and standards for adoption are.  While most shelters can't vouch for the bloodlines of the dogs they have available for adoption, the better shelters will spend time with the dogs to see if they're good with children, other dogs, like a particular type of dog treats, or have bad habits like chewing that will need to be curbed with chews like bully sticks.


The downside to rescue shelters is that there are no guarantees about the dog you'll be adopting.  You may get a great dog that somebody spent a lot of time with, is well trained, and is in the shelter because it ran away or the previous owner couldn't keep it, or you may get a dog that has been abused and had to be taken away from its previous owner.  While most shelters will take a dog back if you discover a trait that you can't live with (like being destructive or biting your small children), it can still be a frustrating process for a first time dog owner.


So What's the Answer?


The answer is that there is no answer.  While getting a dog from a breeder or a rescue shelter has both pros and cons, the decision ultimately comes down to what you want in a dog.  If you're looking for a purebred dog, a breeder is probably your best option, whereas you're just looking to bring a dog into your life without concern for the breed, then a rescue shelter is the best way to go.


Whichever you choose, be sure to do your homework on the breeder or shelter you're adopting from to make sure they are a quality location so that you know the dog you're getting is one that will be with you for years.  Whichever you choose, you can never go wrong by bringing a dog that needs a home into your life and showering it with love and dog treats.


About the Author

Avrum Elmakis is the owner of Best Bully Sticks, a leading provider of dog treats, bully sticks, antlerz, Sam's Yams, and other dog chews and treats.  They can be found online at:

Five Tricks to Teach Your Dog

There's nothing cuter than a dog doing tricks.  While some dogs are easier to train than others (depending on breed and simple intelligence), here are a handful of tricks that you can teach your dog with a little patience but little effort.


Sit/Lay Down


Arguably the basis for any other trick you'll ask your dog to learn, teaching your dog to sit and lay down is probably one of the easier tricks to teach as it is something they'll do on their own without a command.  While there are numerous ways to teach your dog to do either, the two easier ways are to reward them when they perform the action you desire (saying "sit" or "lay down" as they do it on their own and rewarding them with a dog treat), or to use a dog treat as a focus point to maneuver them to the position you want.


To teach your dog to sit in this manner, simply hold a dog treat in your hand and very gently offer it to them while moving your hand towards them, applying pressure to their hindquarters, and saying "sit."  With a little patience, and some treats, your dog should quickly learn to sit on command.  From there, to teach them to lie down, simply have them sit, and use a treat to lure them to the ground while saying "lay down."  With these two commands learned, you have the basis for every other trick you'll want to teach your dog.


Shake Hands


Courtesy is key to dogs as well as humans, and having a dog that can shake hands is a great way to present your dog as a refined dog, just like their owner.  Start by having your dog sit.  Say "shake" or "shake hands" (whichever command you prefer), and take hold of his paw with your hand.  While holding your dog's paw, praise them both verbally and with a dog treat before releasing their paw.  Do this a few times a day and before long they will raise their paw at the command without you having to take their paw.


Roll Over


Start by giving your dog the "lay down" command.  Either standing over your dog or kneeling beside him, hold a dog treat by their nose and slowly move it around and behind him so that he follows it by rolling over, all while giving the command to "roll over."  This trick may take some time as some dogs are less eager to expose their bellies than others, but keep at it and always practice on a soft surface to make it easier on their back.


Play Dead


Nearly every TV or cartoon dog plays dead and the consensus is that it's adorable.  To teach your dog this trick, have them lie down on their belly, then gently roll them onto their back while giving the command to "Play Dead."  Have them keep this position until you give the release command, something like "wake up!" and then give them a dog treat to reward them and encourage the behavior.  Much like the "roll over" command, this trick may take some time as some dogs are hesitant to expose their bellies.


Give Kisses


This trick is easy.  Every time your dog licks your face say "Give Me a Kiss."  If your dog isn't a licker, put a little peanut butter on your cheek and give the command as he licks it off and then again after he has done so.  This trick almost doesn't require a treat since the peanut butter will be treat enough for most dogs.


Think Up Your Own


This is by no means a comprehensive list of tricks to teach your dog.  There are many other tricks, such as "high five," "fetch," and "stay" that you can teach your dog, not to mention something quirky that your dog may do on their own that you find adorable.  Remember to be patient and keep in mind that not all dogs are willing to learn all tricks.  Find ones that your dog is eager to perform and get those down before trying new ones that they are less willing to perform.


About the Author


Avrum Elmakis it the president of Best Bully Sticks, a leading provider of dog treats, bully sticks, other dog chews and treats.  They can be found online at: .


Best Bully Sticks Unveils New Dog Treats

Sam's Yams and Antlerz join already impressive list of dog treats

Richmond, VA – (PRWeb) – February 14, 2008 – Best Bully Sticks, a leading provider of dog treats and chews, is proud to announce the addition of two new products, Sam's Yams and Antlerz, to their already extensive product line.


Created from dried, human food quality fresh sweet potatoes, Sam's Yams are a great alternative to bully sticks.  Rich in anti-oxidants, the sweet potatoes used to make Sam's Yams are, like all of Best Bully Sticks dog treats, great for the gums and teeth of your dog.  Essentially a vegetable rawhide chew, dogs everywhere are already falling in love with these chews.


Also joining Sam's Yams on the Best Bully Sticks product line are Antlerz.  A 100% natural, mineral rich dog chew, these treats are made from deer antlers.  Wild deer shed their antlers once a year, and these shed antlers are gathered by ranch workers and turned into Antlerz chews.  A renewable chew that won't splinter and chip like rawhide, Antlerz show high concentrations of calcium and phosphorus, with trace amounts of iron, zinc, and sodium – all great for a dog's health.


"We're so happy to be adding Sam's Yams and Antlerz to our product line," Avrum Elmakis, president of Best Bully Sticks said.  "They're great products that we know our clients' dogs will love as much as ours do.  They're the next best thing to a bully stick."


About Best Bully Sticks

Best Bully Sticks is a Richmond, Virginia based company that specializes in the sale of all natural dog treats, bully sticks, and other chews.  All of their bully sticks come from 100% Brazilian cattle and are free of any hormones or other additives.  Best Bully Sticks can be found online at: .



Avrum Elmakis


Which Breed is Right for You?

While there are many things to consider when you have decided to bring home a new dog, the first thing you have to pick is which breed is right for you. With that in mind, here are a few things to think about when selecting which breed is best for you and your home.


The size of the dog you choose can depend on a number of factors. How big is your home? Do you have a yard? How big is your yard if you do have one? What size dog do you have an interest in taking home? Keep in mind that while that Golden Retriever is cute and sweet, he requires a lot more space to live than the Boston Terrier you're also considering.


When considering a dog, look around your home and consider if you would like your carpets and furniture covered in the fur of your dog. While many breeds of dogs, both long haired and short haired, don't shed overly much, just about every dog is going to shed a little bit. Keep that in mind and pick accordingly, as it could be the difference between you choosing a Saint Bernard and a Chihuahua.


How do you want your dog to interact not only with you, but with strangers and other dogs? While there is no such thing as a bad dog, some breeds are more aggressive than others with a larger prey drive to hunt. If you have small children, or are around small children, keep in mind how the dog you select will interact with them. Again, there's no such thing as a "bad" dog, but some breeds are better suited to being around small children because of increased patience.

Overall Health

Keep in mind that dogs, just like people, do get sick. Some breeds, just like some people, are more prone to genetic defects and will require medical care as they get older. While you should always expect to keep your dog for its entire life, do some research and make sure you know what some of the common health issues are for the breed of dog you select. It helps to know if they'll just need bully sticks to help with their teeth and gums or hip replacement surgery.


Some dogs are more easily trained then others. With some, a few dog treats along with some basic commands and they're ready to sit, lie down, and play dead. Others are going to require a bit more work to not only teach tricks, but to housebreak. While patience will be required to train any breed of dog, some breeds are just naturally more intelligent than others and will have a smaller learning curve than others. Keep in mind how much time you're willing to spend training your new dog to perform the way you want when selecting a breed.

Amount of Exercise Needed

Every dog needs to be walked, but different breeds will require more exercise than others. Keep in mind how often your dog will need to be walked just to use the bathroom versus how much they need to exercise for reasons of health. Having a backyard is great, but it's no substitute for a brisk walk and being played with. Figure in how much time your schedule will allow you to walk and play with your new dog when considering the perfect breed for you.

Purebred or Mixed Breed

The decision to give a home to a dog that is purebred or mixed breed is one of personal taste. While a purebred ensures you get the dog you're looking for with traits you're expecting, mixed breed dogs are often healthier than purebred dogs as they tend to receive the best traits of their different breeds.

While some mixed breeds are now being intentionally bred (like Labradoodles and Puggles), most mixed breeds aren't planned and often result in interesting mixes. If there isn't a specific breed you prefer, considering a mixed breed dog is a good way to find the traits from different breeds that you like all in one dog.

Give the Gift of a Home

No matter what dog you choose, there's nothing better than giving a home to a puppy or dog in need. Remember to stock up on dog treats, chews, food, and, of course, bully sticks to make your new dog feel right at home. Keep in mind that there are a number of different sites like PetFinder that can help you find the dog you're looking for. Always consider your local animal shelter before turning to a breeder, but above all, make sure you get the pet you want.

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